Improv Your Life

You’ve watched comedians do stand-up before. Looks easy. You know you could do it yourself. Stand around, fidget, make jokes. Audience laughs.  Move on if they don’t. Or better yet, what about doing Improv? Stand around with other people and do silly stuff.  That might be better–there’s less spotlight on you. But what’s the point? Especially when you’re doing this stuff on a stage with strangers? What’s the value?

Value? Well it’s there. Just sort of hidden and wrapped up in slices of random conversation. After five weeks of in an Improv class, I’ve uncovered it.

In my class,  we’re on a stage being silly. And saying dumb things about daily life. With strangers. Fortunately they aren’t strangers for long. What we do creates a quick togetherness. Can you believe we paid to do this? Are we crazy?  Why are you here?

Well, I signed up to get over over a life-long need to be perfect. This year, I decided to embrace the concept of good-enough. And trying. Learning new things and not letting the need to be perfect stop me before I start.  It  really does take time to learn new things. There’s no instant success.  That’s where the good-enough comes in. Perfect can come later. If it comes at all.  Especially in trying to figure out my new,  non-corporate, retirement style life. So far, lesson learned: “Perfect is the enemy of good.”

In Improv, there is no audience but there’s been a critic in the house since we started. At least until this week when  I noticed she left early.  I guess she got bored. Same people doing dumb and talking silly. Or vice versa. At any rate, I saw her get up and leave. Guess she got a ride with someone else.  Or got on a bus.

You see, we’d been driving to the theater together for class. The critic and I. We’ve been BFF. Joined at the hip and in my head.  This year I realized that our relationship was going nowhere. No value-add with my BFF. So, I signed up for the Improv class. I wanted meet some new ideas. I really wanted to dump my BFF, the inner critic. Emphasis on making that “F”; as in “forever.”

In Improv, you can’t be perfect. You need to go with what comes at you; be in the moment and just respond.  If you try to be perfect, nothing works because creativity runs away scared. We spend a lot of time on getting past perfect so that creative feels welcome. We make up stories, solve problems and say, “The End.” When creative is in the house, what we do feels fun. Otherwise, what we do is perfectly dull.

I guess my BFF lost interest in me this week because I quit listening to her. Her advice was all about the pursuit of perfect.  I stayed in the moment. She left early.

Waving good-bye to you, BFF. It’s been perfectly real. But not really perfect. See ya…


Many readers find themselves stuck in planning for retirement. Retirement Style offers a number of resources, including our 30 Day Journaling Challenge, to help you get unstuck in working towards your best retirement. If you would like to speak to a certified retirement coach about your personal journey, please contact us.

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